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Newsletter, Issue No. 2, Autumn, 2015

Red Pig Success!

We are pleased to announce that we have managed to secure the purchase of Red Pig Farm, a 70 acre mixed woodland on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons. It has all been made possible thanks to a local investor who has come through with the majority of the finance required to finalise the deal.

We have now begun the task of renovating and building the infrastructure that will support the growth of the project over the next couple of years with the aim of submitting a One Planet Development planning application at the end of this period.

It is now November and the woodland season has properly begun. With the kind assistance of our local Coed Cymru officer we are now ready to carefully proceed with our woodland management plan which includes a tree and plant nursery, large scale mushroom cultivation and areas for horticulture and livestock.

The forest is a beautiful place to be at the moment with the autumn colours, larch needles covering the ground and wintry rainbows in the sky. We want to share this with you! We welcome anyone who would like to come and work along side us. The work is very diverse and covers coppicing, clearing, bed building, soil making, shed building and wood splitting. We will have our first work weekend on December 11-13. We will make sure there are comfortable spaces to stay and plenty of food. Just be sure you dress warmly and bring your water proofs. If you'd like to come along email or call to tell us you're coming so we know how many people to expect.

Alongside this seasonal work we have updated our website with a list of particular ongoing projects that may interest some of you. We'll keep this regularly updated so if you feel like coming to work on a specific project just let us know and we'll try a co-ordinate a suitable time for you to visit with all the resources and materials you'll need.

We'd also like to thank everyone who came to our open days and helped over the last year to develop the Agroecology Land Initiative. We want to encourage a wide participation in the purpose of our organisation and, as such we are converting to a co-operative society in the new year. This will allow us to have a different classes of membership reflecting the varying levels of commitment and involvement. We will explain more in the next newsletter. Until then we wish you a very merry yuletide from here in Bethlehem (Wales).

Sara thinning the larch poles for roundwood timber frame construction.
James and Johannes walking up to the Mushroom Barn on the first frost of the year.

Some of you might know that we have started a Food Hub here in the Towy Valley. We called it the Black Mountain Food Hub. so far managed to connect to the local producers and find pick-up points in the area, which of course is ongoing. While doing our woodland work, the food hub is very much on a slow burn but in January we will most probably get a packing space at a new exciting venue by LLandeilo station.

We will also use this opportunity to relaunch the hub. For this vision to come through we are welcoming interest from locals who would like to volunteer with the food hub. Give us a call if you are interested in hearing what you could do to help make the Food Hub successful.

The new Venue - A Hub in a Hub
In October, The Food Hub were part of a recent presentation for a new, sustainable building at Llandeilo railway station called the Station Hub.

It is hoped that the proposed new building will offer an exciting but affordable space for entrepreneurs and community innovators to expand their businesses and to help bring rural stations back to life.

The transportable Station Hub has been developed in Wales with the backing of Welsh Government Minster for the Economy and Transport, Mrs Edwina Hart and the support of Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales. It is a replicable, free-standing passive-haus design.

Hopefully Black Mountain Food Hub will get a space there and be able to play a central part in the creation of a more resilient local food economy.

12th to 13th of December - Volunteer Work Weekend: Come and join us working in the woods for some coppicing and thinning. Bring food to share if you can.

6th & 7th January - Oxford Real Farming Conference: Tickets now available

9th & 10th of January - Volunteer Work Weekend

Our path through the larch we hope to start thinning this for timber over our work weekend on the 11th to 13th December.

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